When we met Rocky Bhai four years ago, little did we know that KGF would become the household name it is now. Cut to 2022, all eyes are now set on KGF: Chapter 2, which is scheduled to hit screens worldwide on April 14. Expectations on the Yash-starrer are humongous, and the world is waiting with bated breath to see what fate holds in store for the dreaded ‘monster’ from the gold mines of Kolar.
On Sunday, the makers added to the hype by launching the film’s trailer in a grand event that saw the presence of some of the biggest names in Indian cinema. The leading man’s pan-Indian popularity was palpable when scores of North Indian fans cried their throats hoarse not for their very own Sanju baba, but the Rocking Star.
Filmmaker Karan Johar hosted the event, and in his trademark wit, opened the show by declaring, “It’s time we all burn the Woods”. He was referring to the blurring of language barriers and the need for Indian cinema to come together as one. Almost everyone who spoke later echoed his words.
The event began with tributes being paid to the late actor Puneeth Rajkumar. The chief guest of the event, Shivarajkumar extended his best wishes to the team, and formally launched the trailer of KGF Chapter 2. After watching the explosive trailer, Karnataka Minister CN Ashwath Narayan said, “Looks like this is on par with Hollywood cinema. Being a Kannadiga, this is a matter of pride for me.”
Distributors of the pan-Indian film, which will be released in Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam, also attended the event. Actor Prithviraj Sukumaran, who is releasing the Malayalam version, recounted meeting Yash after the release of the first part and interacting with him about the possibilities of the sequel.
Prithviraj also heaped praise on Prashanth Neel and SS Rajamouli calling them “two distinct chapters in Indian cinema.” He signed off by saying, “While the Baahubali films taught us to dream, KGF films made us believe in the dream.”
Farhan Akhtar, who has acquired the Hindi rights along with Anil Thadani, Ritesh Sidhwani, sent a video message apologising for his absence. The actor-filmmaker stated that it is his privilege to take the film to the North Indian audience. SR Prabhu and Sai Korapotti, the distributors of the Telugu and Tamil versions, respectively, also expressed their honour in being associated with such a big project.
Sanjay Dutt, who plays the villain Adheera in the film, spoke about how KGF 2 has been a learning experience. “After being in the industry for over 45 years, this film has been a lesson to me in terms of what togetherness and unity in cinema can produce,” said Sanjay Dutt, while also thanking his “younger brother” Yash for being a wonderful co-star.
Raveena Tandon, who is essaying the role of Prime Minister Ramika Sen, was all praise for the director Prashanth and Yash. Calling Prashanth a “thorough gentleman” who can also be a “thorough terror”, Raveena said Yash was “not just a rocking star but also a rocking human being.”
Usually a man of few words, Prashanth thanked his team for their years of hard work. In a wonderful gesture, the director called some of the main crew members on stage and proudly said, “I have the best technical team in the world. It has been eight years since we started the journey. We have done everything possible to tell this story in the best way possible.” The director also took the occasion to remember Puneeth Rajkumar. “Everything we have done over these eight years, we dedicate it all to Appu sir.”
Yash also began his speech by remembering Puneeth. He praised Prashanth Neel for being a visionary and thanked producer Vijay Kiragandur for showing the courage to produce a story like this. Yash also remembered how Sanjay Dutt was a “true fighter”, who took the risk of shooting for the film in adverse conditions despite his health conditions.
Towards the end of the event, when asked about the much-hyped box office clash with Vijay’s Beast, which will hit screens worldwide on April 13, Yash won hearts by saying, “This is not an election where only one emerges as the winner. This is cinema. So according to me, it is not KGF 2 vs Beast, but KGF 2 and Beast.
Also, there’s something called legacy. Vijay sir is such a big star, who has been entertaining people for so long. We have to respect that. I always believe that your downfall starts the moment you start thinking that you’re better than your seniors. He is my senior and I’m sure fans will watch both our films. Let us celebrate Indian cinema together.”